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Monday, January 31, 2005

read this, please

I don't have time to do the fancy link. I must go to work. But for those who have told me that I don't have the right to say that the big demonstration's bad, when rabbis are in favor of it. Here's a news article from arutz 7. If anyone can help me connect with that group, please do so.
http://www.israelnn.com/news.php3?id=76163

Sunday, January 30, 2005

Almost a Hundred

I'm writing #98 now. It will be out, G-d willing, in a day or two. That's close to a hundred. If any of you have any favorites, please let me know via the "comments," and I'll try to put some excerpts up on the blog.

In The News

On Friday, when I wrote that I wouldn't be attending the massive demonstration the following Sunday, I had no idea that it would make me a news item.

It's not a simple situation.



Comments on "Why I Won't..."

First of all, the comments have surprised me in the agreement and support for my opinion that the theme of the demonstration, demanding a referendum, is a serious mistake. Some of the people are going anyway. I asked and received permission to publish a couple of the comments from readers, and they follow:


Sir:

Although I feel certain that a referendum would certainly win against throwing Jews out of their homes, I feel that even bringing it up to a vote is immoral. The plan was brought up for a vote when Amram Mitzna presented it in the last elections and it was voted down by a landslide vote for Ariel Sharon. Who would have believed that he would hijack our votes like that?

Jews don't throw Jews out of their homes and communities especially when it can only endanger Israel's security, can cause a major desecration of God's name and can only encourage our enemies. How would Ariel Sharon react if the same decision were made today in a European country?

So, I will be attending Sunday's demonstration not because I want a referendum but because I want to express my revulsion of the plan to force incredibly wonderful Jews to lose their homes, their livelihoods, their past and their future. And for what? Does any sane person really believe that the IDF will be able to leave Aza if the terrorists see how effective they are? Is the Oslo nightmare repeating itself? Is our memory that short? Don't we read reality and not the brainwashing of our extreme leftist false-messianic reporters? How did we get Shimon Peres again?

Leah S. Wolf
Metar

leahswolf@hotmail.com

and...

Batya, what I don't understand is why Moetzet Yesha is not working hand in hand with Gush Katif for this demonstration, because I am sure that most people there also think that the signs shoud say what you said: Eretz Yisrael belongs to the Jews, period and no referendum is going to change that. If there will be enough people at the demonstration who say that statement loud and clear, then the demonstration is worth doing and the tent sitting is worth it too. But otherwise, I agree that this attitude of the Moetza is shooting ourselves in the foot. Thank you for sharing and Shabbat Shalom

So, if you have anything to add, don't be shy.
Shavua Tov

Friday, January 28, 2005

Why I Won't Be At Sunday's Demonstration

Musings #97
January 28, 2005
The 18th of Shvat

Why I Won’t Be At Sunday’s Demonstration

I admit that I, who once never missed a demonstration, thrived on the excitement of demonstrations and even met my husband at a demonstration, have rarely been attending them for the past few years. But that’s not why I’m not going to be at this coming Sunday’s “massive” demonstration organized by Moetzet YESHA.

There’s a very simple reason why I’m not planning on going. I’m one hundred percent, 100%, opposed to its objective, slogan. Yes, simple as that, and yes, I totally disagree with the tactics and now political aims of Moetzet YESHA.

I suddenly paid attention to what the demonstration is demanding. It’s demanding, “Let the People Decide,” meaning a referendum. Don’t they realize that by demanding a referendum they are agreeing to abide by its decision? It means that they are giving “democracy” a higher status than Judaism, The Torah, G-d. It means that they are recognizing the government’s rights to do what it wants in the name of “democracy.” By having a referendum they are letting people choose whether or not to continue with the entire mitzvah of “yishuv ha’aretz,” the Zionist ideal.

Continuing with this philosophical change in the foundations of our country, last night the news focused on a court case by Arab Israelis who are demanding the right to purchase homes from the JNF, Jewish National Fund. Remember the “blue boxes,” fundraising for the purchase of land in the Holy Land for Jews? Well, did anyone ever tell you that it’s not “democratic?” The land bought from Arabs for Jews is now going to be sold back to Arabs. That’s what they were talking about on the news last night. We are a democratic country, and all citizens should have the same civil rights.

Yes, all citizens will vote in the referendum. Yes, Arabs will be able to vote in the referendum about whether or not Jews should be expelled from their homes. Yes, Arabs will be able to vote on whether or not to destroy Jewish communities. Yes, Arabs will have the right to decide if Jews can live in Eretz Yisrael, the Land of Israel.

Yes, I don’t trust Moetzet YESHA. Time after time, I’ve been horrified by their decisions and plans. I prefer thinking that they’re just stupid. For most of my life, I’ve been aware of the fact that my mind just works differently from others. Sometimes I’m right, and sometimes I’m wrong. On this issue, I’ve been amazed at the amount of people who agree. Actually, ever since I began writing my “musings,” I’ve had so many letters and comments from people telling me that I said just what they had been thinking. Previously, I had always thought that I was the only one.

Now, just before the demonstration, many people have told me that they don’t know what to do. They agree with me, but they’re afraid not to attend the demonstration. I am so against the referendum (which I wrote about in many of my previous musings) that there’s no way I’ll be there. That’s why I’m writing this. All I can suggest is that all of you who agree with me, whether you attend or not, please write to the newspapers, call the “talk shows” saying that you’re against the referendum. And if someone asks to interview you at the demonstration, say the same thing.

The only demonstration I would attend would have as its theme: “Eretz Yisrael for Am Yisrael,” “The Land of Israel for The Jewish People.” I am ruled by the Torah, not by democracy. This is what Moetzet YESHA should be proclaiming.

Shabbat Shalom,

Batya Medad, Shiloh


Copyright©BatyaMedad, Contact me for publication permission; private distribution encouraged.
Shilohmuse@yahoo.com
http://shilohmusings.blogspot.com/
http://me-ander.blogspot.com/
http://www.shilo.org.il
This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs License. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/ or send a letter to Creative Commons, 559 Nathan Abbott Way, Stanford, California 94305, USA.


Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Horse, Cart and today's news...

In http://shilohmusings.blogspot.com/2005/01/horses-carts-eggs-and-chickens.html I mentioned the fact that there's a systematic deception, concerning the underlying cause for Israel's "military actions." I omitted the "security wall," which is another reaction by Israel to the Arab terrorism. (And this isn't the post to criticize it, but you should be aware of the fact that I don't think that it will increase Israel's security. It's a subject for another musing/post.) Of course the terrorists omit the background. This morning I saw this http://www.israelnn.com/news.php3?id=75908 on arutz 7.

From now on, I'll try to remember to refer to our military "actions" as "reactions," and hopefully by doing this I/we can educate the public as to the true situation.


Tuesday, January 25, 2005

A Short Film About Honenu

Honenu, the organization that helps people trapped by the strange, perverted morality of the Israeli legal system, has put out a short movie. I wrote about them a couple of months ago. Here are links to both.

http://shilohmusings.blogspot.com/2004/12/rather-be-jailed-than-buried.html

http://honenu.org.il/film-strip.htm

Monday, January 24, 2005

Horses, Carts, Eggs and Chickens

Musings #96
January 24, 2005
The 14th of Shvat

Horses, Carts, Eggs and Chickens

This morning I heard one of those offers on the news. It reminded me of the jokes I heard as a kid about gullible people buying the Brooklyn Bridge, or the children’s story about the small animal who trusted the fox to give him a ride across the river and made it to the other side in the fox, rather than on him.

The offer I heard actually put the cart before the horse; it’s a reversal, a perversion, of reality. The Israel-Arab “conflict” is not a philosophical problem, like eggs and chickens, which came first. And what’s the offer? If you haven’t already guessed, the Arabs offered to stop terrorism if we stop our military activities. Yeah, sure. http://www.israelnn.com/news.php3?id=75775

It seems like they’ve conveniently “forgotten” something, ignoring a “minor” detail. They’re the aggressors, the initiators, and we’re just trying to defend ourselves. They bomb homes, schools, civilians, families and school children. We wipe up the blood, dig graves and on occasion try to carefully capture terrorists without harming anyone “who may be just an innocent civilian.”

There wouldn’t be any Israeli military activity if the Arabs weren’t attacking and murdering us. There is no country more ambivalent, less enthusiastic, about its military than Israel. Catholics consider sex to be “the necessary evil,” and Israelis treat its military that way. Without an army, we would never have achieved statehood and would never have had been able to defend ourselves in the wars the Arabs made against us.

People here bless newborn males with: “he should never need to be a soldier.” After the Yom Kippur War in 1973, there was a top hit song, sung by Yoram Gaon, “Ani mavti’ach lach, yaldah sheli, k’tana, shezot t’hiyeh hamilchamah ha’achronah,” “I promise you, my little girl, that this will be the very last war.” Another favorite was “Shir Hashalom,” “The Peace Song,” based on the philosophy sung by John Lennon in “Imagine.” Its theme is that there’s nothing worth dying for, neither religion nor nationality. This philosophy is extremely dangerous for a country whose very existence is threatened daily. The songwriters have been brainwashing the Israeli public for years. Educators and anthropologists have always known for that the easiest way to learn something is to sing it. A pleasant tune can overcome almost anyone’s inhibitions. You don’t even know that there’s a message; it’s so singable. That’s the danger. People will believe anything if you say it long enough.

The natural consequence of that philosophy is that if nothing’s worth dying for, then nothing’s worth living for either. Unfortunately we see that more and more as the escape to drugs, materialism and mystic searches are becoming more and more common. There is a terrible emptiness is sections of Israeli society, since they are “disengaged” from their heritage.

The schism in Israeli society can be seen in how the cart and horse are arranged. We, in YESHA and our supporters, have something to live for. We’re building our country and we’re not trying nor willing to pander to anyone. Our goals are clear. Our security and independence are paramount. Our cart is hitched behind the horse, and we’re working hard. If we have to fight our enemies, we will. When they stop attacking us, and not for a few hours or a day, when they hand us their weapons and surrender, then we can cease our “military activities.” But we will always have to be on the alert to safeguard our country.

And for those who believe the Arab promises, I have this bridge….

Batya Medad, Shiloh
Copyright©BatyaMedad, Contact me for publication permission; private distribution encouraged.
Shilohmuse@yahoo.com
http://shilohmusings.blogspot.com/
http://me-ander.blogspot.com/
http://www.shilo.org.il
This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs License. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/ or send a letter to Creative Commons, 559 Nathan Abbott Way, Stanford, California 94305, USA.

TME TO VOTE

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Friday, January 21, 2005

Imprinting Memory

Musings #95
January 19, 2005
The 9th of Shvat

Imprinting Memory

Modern teaching theory definitely has one improvement over the old. It recognizes “multiple intelligences,” different “learning styles,” but don’t think that it’s really new. King David mentions it in T’hilim, Psalms, chapter 34, verse 9, that he wrote thousands of years ago: “Ta’amu ur’u, kama tov Hashem…” “Taste/experience and see that G-d is good…” It’s not enough to just listen or look; most people must have a kinesthetic, physical experience, a taste of something to truly understand it.

That’s the basic reason for the popularity today of our sending high school students to Eastern Europe and the Nazi concentration camps, and l’havdil, to differentiate, it’s the rationale behind the Birthright Program that brings young Jewish adults from the Diaspora to Israel.

No matter how much is spent on a Holocaust museum, it is still just a museum, artificial, sterile and lacking in true human emotion. The sort of person sensitive enough to be strongly affected by the museum can be even more influenced by a book. For many neither books nor museums succeed in enblaing them to deeply comprehend the evil done by the Nazis. I’ve never made the trip to see what remains of the “death camps” and the once vibrant Jewish communities of Europe, though I did send my husband and elder son. From what I’ve heard, most people come back from the trips to “Auschwitz” with a heightened sensitivity and awareness as to what the Nazis and their allies destroyed.

All over the world, most of us who are parents rely on the school system to teach our children history and the lessons of history. Apparently, Prince Charles of Great Britain is no exception. The international media broadcast that he was horrified to discover that his two sons, educated in “the best” British private (yes, they call them “public”) schools, were oblivious of what the Nazis were and what they had done.

This made me wonder what Prince Harry, Prince William, their friends and most of the British public really know about World War Two and what led up to it. We lived in London for two years, and I’ve tried to remember all of the references to the war. My mother’s cousin told us how she had to go to a maternity hospital in the countryside, and that “people were nice during the war.” And on TV there were some great comedies about WWII, such as “Dad’s Army” and a hysterically funny one about spies in France, in which the leading actor used a ridiculous Peter Sellers-type phony French accent. So it’s clear that for many WWII was a fun time. I don’t remember there being a section of houses destroyed by the Nazi aerial attack preserved as a memorial; I even checked with a friend who grew up in England. She confirmed that not only isn’t there something to show the younger generation, but WWII isn’t stressed, it’s barely covered in History classes, and she checked with her nephews to see if there had been any changes; there were none.

Since the September 11th terror attack in the states, there has been great controversy over how and what should be built on the land where the World Trade Center once stood. Many people insist that a large section should remain unbuilt. Thousand of people were murdered on that spot, and many of the bodies were totally incinerated. That’s their grave and to build on it would trivialize their memories and the horrific terror attack on American soil. The feeling is that it’s important to leave a section, undeveloped, a brutal sore to make people remember the horror.

In Israel in the Jewish Quarter of the “walled city” of Jerusalem there is a similar controversy. The famous, majestic Churvah Synagogue, rebuilt in 1865, was again destroyed by the Arab armies in 1948. There are plans to rebuild it again, but many people think that it would be a mistake. They say that I it is of crucial importance to have a strong physical reminder of the magnificence and vitality of the pre-1948 Jewish community of Jerusalem and to show what the Arabs destroyed.

In light of the British embarrassment, it seems more and more important not to rebuild it. Most people need to physically feel and touch and history in order to see, understand it. By teaching history well, we can prevent the tragedies from being repeated.

“Ta’amu ur’u… Taste/experience and see…”

Batya Medad, Shiloh
Copyright©BatyaMedad, Contact me for publication permission; private distribution encouraged.
Shilohmuse@yahoo.com
http://shilohmusings.blogspot.com/
http://me-ander.blogspot.com/
http://www.shilo.org.il/
This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs License. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/ or send a letter to Creative Commons, 559 Nathan Abbott Way, Stanford, California 94305, USA.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Response to Michael's comment-"responsibility"

Yes, there must have had been some learning by the princes and their friends of WWII and the Nazi bombardment of England, particularly of London, but it didn't reach their "kishkes," guts, their inner being. We lived in London for two years, 1975-7, and I don't remember hearing about any bombed, destroyed, neighborhood that had been preserved as a reminder of the nightmare the country had been through.

This gives a stronger perspective to the debates in New York on how much and what should be constructed on the land that once had the "twin towers." Most people are incapable of internalizing what they haven't experienced or graphically seen. Obviously Prince Charles was strongly affected by visiting concentration camps and realizes that his sons are oblivious to history.

We also shouldn't forget that until the actual declaration of war by the Nazis against Britain, there was much sympathy for the Nazi ideology among the upper classes.

Unfortunately, neither Prince William nor Prince Harry shows any of the personality traits needed for leadership, even of the symbolic type. And I'm not even assessing IQ points.


Sunday, January 16, 2005

Another bus story

Here's the first link of a three part bus story. Once you finish that one, you can link up to the continuation and conclusion.

Enjoy!! It's a true-life story!


http://me-ander.blogspot.com/2005/01/part-1-just-like-in-movies.html

Saturday, January 15, 2005

The Ultimate Responsibility

Musings #94
Started January 11, 2005
Rosh Chodesh, The First of Shvat

The Ultimate Responsibility

When I began this musing a few days ago, I was certain that the “Ultimate Responsibility” was to take responsibility for oneself, but now after ”the “Prince Harry in Nazi Uniform” affair, I must amend that. We must, also, teach our children to learn from history.

Our ultimate responsibility to pass on to the next generation is that they must take responsibility for their lives, their education and their futures. It’s probably the hardest thing for us to do as parents and educators.

So many times we’re tempted to just clean up the mess they’ve made or say that it’s our fault, or the teacher’s or the school’s that they’ve failed. But if we do that, we’re training them for failure.

Yes, this is how I began a few days ago, and now “responsibility” has taken on a different hue.

Prince Harry, the second son of Prince Charles and Diana wore a Nazi officers uniform to a “costume ball.” Not only didn’t Harry consider it problematic, but his older the brother, Prince William, considered the “smarter” of the two, was with him when he picked it out. Apparently, neither of the two, nor the shopkeeper, nor anyone around them, had even the foggiest idea that it would cause a major public, political and international scandal.


Personally I’m relieved that it caused a scandal, though I’m surprised and disappointed at the points that others are bringing up. So far, the scandal is focusing on the Jewish issue:
The Sun, which broke the Nazi gaffe story yesterday, quoted an unnamed royal source as saying that Charles also told his older son, William, to travel with Harry to Auschwitz.
"Their father has visited Auschwitz himself and believes Harry and William would both benefit by grasping a greater understanding of the horrors by actually visiting. http://www.smh.com.au/news/World/Charles-incandescent/2005/01/14/1105582699246.html?oneclick=true

That’s helpful, but I’m amazed that the British haven’t made much more of an issue of the fact that just sixty years ago the Nazis were still waging war against Britain, and that England was bombed repeatedly. Ninety-two thousand, six hundred and seventy three (92,673) civilians were killed; homes and buildings were destroyed. Two hundred sixty-four thousand, four hundred and forty-three (264,443) troops were also killed by the Nazis and their allies.

A more frightening implication is that these two young men are the products of Great Britain’s elite private education, and neither had any idea of the brutality of the Nazi regime. Their peers are, like themselves, being prepared for powerful national and international positions. That should make your blood run cold.

Barely sixty years after the Allied forces, led by the United States, defeated the Nazis, barely sixty years after the Nazi Army viciously attacked Great Britain, numbers two and three in line to the British throne think it’s perfectly fine to wear a Nazi uniform to a party. Honestly, this concerns me more than the Jewish issue.

Re: the Jewish issue, read:

http://me-ander.blogspot.com/2005/01/prince-harry-and-nazis.html

In terms of the big picture, the fact that Britain’s elite does not know history is dangerous for the entire world. Because:

“Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” George Santayana

I can’t resist contrasting this to this week’s Maftir, the last few sentences of the Torah Portion of the week from Shmot, Exodus XIII, 14-16, when the Children of Israel are commanded to tell their children the story of how G-d took them out of slavery, out of Egypt. And now thousands of years later, the majority of Jews, even those who do not keep the “everyday commandments” do some sort of symbolic Passover seder to commemorate that G-d took us out of Egypt. It is this national memory that has kept us existing as a people for thousands of years, while the nations and cultures that once oppressed us are no longer to be found.

Batya Medad, Shiloh
Copyright(C)BatyaMedad, Contact me for publication permission; private distribution encouraged.
Shilohmuse@yahoo.com
http://shilohmusings.blogspot.com/
http://me-ander.blogspot.com/
http://www.shilo.org.il

This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs License. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/ or send a letter to Creative Commons, 559 Nathan Abbott Way, Stanford, California 94305, USA

Friday, January 7, 2005

Dovrat—Rotten Idea

Musings #93
January 6, 2005
The 25th of Tevet

Dovrat—Rotten Idea

The Dovrat recommendations are going to do to Israeli education what Michael Jackson’s plastic surgeons did to his face. Yes, exactly. The Dovrat Commission’s restructuring plans are superficial, cosmetic. Just like no matter what some plastic surgeon does to someone’s nose, his or her kids will inherit the original “big nose gene.” All the hullabaloo and proposed changes won’t eliminate the real problems. And believe me, there are problems.

I’m not going to get into the anti-religious aspect or the obvious financial difficulties of the proposals, such as lunchrooms, bussing and all that. What concern me are the curriculum, the teaching methods and the needs of both the students and the teachers.

First for a little background: I’m a mother, grandmother and teacher. And, obviously, I was also once a student. I’ve seen the systems here in Israel, in the states and in England. I also worked in a number of other professions, sometimes simultaneously while teaching. Dovrat is blaming the teachers for the sorry state of Israeli education. It reminds me of when I was a saleslady in a small store. The store wasn’t doing well, and the owners brought in an expert to recommend changes. The expert never asked the salespeople our opinions. We were given an assignment to keep track of how many people entered the store and how many of them bought anything. The expert insisted that we should be able to convince them to buys “something.” People did want to buy, but we didn’t have anything they wanted. And you can’t sell an expensive play outfit to somebody who can barely afford the simple socks they had entered the store to buy.

I couldn’t sell something that wasn’t in the store, and the teachers can’t teach what isn’t on the curriculum. The failures in the Israeli educational system are due to faddy curriculum planning and failure-prone teaching methods.

All over the world, studies in worker efficiency show that people work better if they can take breaks, vary their schedule, get out of the office, factory, etc. Forcing teachers to work full-time office hours will not make them better teachers and will not attract “better people” to the profession. Teaching demands a lot of emotional energy, like actors on the stage. Many of us are better, more effective teachers simply because we can restrict our hours. The fact that we have time during the week to make doctors appointments, go shopping, see family and friends and plan our lessons on our personal computers (instead of waiting on line in the school) means that when we are with our students we are not distracted. And we don’t have to be excused and cancel lessons to take care of urgent personal matters. The concept of teachers devoting all their days at the school is based on the Catholic schools, staffed by nuns and priests. It’s not relevant for people who have lives. My friends and relatives who are teachers abroad suffer greatly from their inflexible schedules, and so do their families. We don’t need that here. Life’s tough enough.

I’m an English teacher, a high school English teacher. I never planned on being an English teacher. I had heard that the “bosses” were very strict about making the teachers teach according to official policy. I’m not very good at obeying rules, especially if I think they’re stupid. I’ve gotten myself into trouble, since, as you may have noticed, I can’t keep my mouth shut. After seeing what my kids were given in school English lessons, I knew that I wouldn’t survive a day as an English teacher, so for thirteen years I was a girls gym teacher in a school with neither sports equipment nor a gymnasium. Originally I took the job “temporarily,” a year or two, until they found a real teacher. I wasn’t a real teacher, lacking certificates and training. But I kept those girls busy, and even today, years later, when my former students meet me in the pool they ask my advice on proper exercise.

Seven years ago when I was asked by a friend to teach the kids who were failing English, I was given a few minutes “training” and the green light to do whatever I thought would work to help them pass. A couple of years later I got my teaching license and I’m still at the same school. And year after year, I’m more and more disappointed in the lack of foundation language skills my students bring into the classroom.

That’s where the main problem is, in the basic learning, the foundation. Our children must be taught basic language skills and basic arithmetic. They must be taught that every letter has a sound and that combining them makes a word. It’s called phonetics. And that every number has a set value, and they can be combined, subtracted, multiplied and divided. And the basic counting by two’s, three’s, five’s, ten’s should be ingrained in their brains; it’s called memorizing. Put it to music; dance to it; shout it as a chant; yes, it can be fun. Correct Hebrew grammar must be reinforced, and incorrect must be corrected. If not they will continue having trouble learning additional languages and sound like neurologically impaired illiterates in their own.

As a high school English teacher, I waste valuable precious time teaching my students basic grammar and composition and summarizing skills. When I asked my cousin to send me a highly recommended book for teaching students composition writing, he was amazed: “But aren’t you teaching high school? This book is used in the third grade in New York City.”

“Restructuring” is not the solution it reminds me of when my eldest was in the second grade and I was trying to explain to the teacher that the arithmetic was too boring. She had done that level at the age of four. The teacher replied: “But look at how pretty the book is, how could it be boring?”

We must get beyond the superficial. I can go on and on about what I would change, but this is long enough.

I wish that I had some real influence. All I can recommend is that everyone protest however they can and demand a true education for our precious children.

Batya Medad, Shiloh
Copyright(C)BatyaMedad, Contact me for publication permission; private distribution encouraged.
Shilohmuse@yahoo.com
http://shilohmusings.blogspot.com/
http://me-ander.blogspot.com/
http://www.shilo.org.il

Wednesday, January 5, 2005

Monday, January 3, 2005

Demonstrating Disengagement

Musings #92
January 3, 2005
The 22rd of Tevet

Demonstrating Disengagement

Moetzet YESHA, the YESHA Council is disengaged from reality in thinking that their ten-day extravaganza will improve anything. I was there today, and I wrote the opening sentence before I went. It didn’t seem right to continue in that vein without taking a look, but unfortunately my visit made me even more pessimistic about the usefulness of the demonstration.

For years I’ve complained about the demonstrations being hidden far from public view in the park behind the Knesset. And I’ve always been against the camping out, “tent” demonstrations.

The main purpose of large and small demonstrations is to influence public opinion. Attempts at influencing politicians, especially Israeli ones who are not directly elected, are most successful by “lobbyists.” Israeli politicians are more susceptible to the one-on-one, frequent, flattering conversations. Actually this is true in most parts of the world. Political lobbyists are a proper, recognized profession in America, and there the politicians are directly elected. No politician likes the idea that he or she can be influenced by “mobs” of people. It’s insulting, degrading for their egos.

Ten years ago, I wrote an article in Hebrew for “Chadashot Binyamin,” the newspaper of Mateh Binyamin, and signed it “Bat Alexander.” I described my opposition to “camping across the Knesset” demonstrations. Then and today it reminds me too much of a refugee camp, and I don’t see the point in making a game out of it. The people who like that sort of demonstration describe it as “fun” or “a great experience.” Sorry, but for me it’s a nightmare. Also, it makes us look as if we don’t have real homes. For years, the left and media have made great efforts to describe our communities as temporary, just a few caravans (trailers) and shacks, something easy to destroy. The verb “dismantle” is used, and that gives the impression that our homes and communities are made from Tinker Toys or Lego. No big deal to move. We have to counteract that impression.

Another problem with the present demonstration is that it’s hamitnachlim, “the settlers” against the rest of the country. The ten days are shared between the various local councils in YESHA. Moetzet YESHA has separated us from citizens not in YESHA. This is a very crucial and critical mistake, because we are fighting for the survival of our entire country. If G-d forbid Gush Katif goes, then Judea, Samaria and the Jordan Valley are next and then the entire country will be destroyed. G-d forbid.

Today, day one, buses were re-routed without prior notification and amcha, the man in the street is cursing us. Yes, I was on one of those buses, and I was embarrassed. Ordinary people, the same people we should be getting on our side are being inconvenienced and they’re angry. They’re angry at us.

Instead of this monstrous, expensive demonstration in an area sans pedestrians, we should be in all the cities and suburbs lehitchabare connecting with the people, like Rabbi Yigal Kaminetzky recommends. There should be tables sheltered by large umbrellas to keep out the rain and sun, manned by those who can explain how Gush Katif is no less important than Gush Dan, why Beit El is no different from Bayit V’Gan, why Israelis should be free to live in Kiryat Arba, just like they do in Kiryat Shmoneh. People should be walking all over the country looking for others to explain what’s really going on. We must not separate ourselves from our brothers, our cousins, our old friends and classmates.

The future of our country is at stake.

Batya Medad, Shiloh
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